Dogs are a joy to have in a household, but they can also be a lot of work. One of the most important things you need to do as a dog owner is to housebreak your pet. This means getting them used to going outside to pee and poop. If you’re not sure if your dog is housebroken, don’t worry! We’re here to help. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs that your dog is housebroken and give you some tips on how to fix any issues.
How Do You Know if Your Dog Is Housebroken?
The most obvious sign of a dog that is properly housebroken is one that will indicate to you that its ready to go outside. This can include pacing, sniffing, circling, whimpering, squatting, scratching, or barking near a door. If they can wait a few minutes for you to take them outside, they are definitely housebroken.
Another sign of a properly housebroken dog is that it will not have any accidents in the house. This means no peeing, no pooping, and no chewing on furniture. If your dog is consistently going to the bathroom outside and not having any accidents in the house, then you can consider it to be successfully housebroken.
They may also go towards the door at certain times of the day if you are very consistent about taking them outside at those times. For example, many dogs will start to go towards the door in the morning after they wake up, or when they see their owner getting ready to leave the house. Or they may head to the door to go outside after a meal if they are used to being taken out during these times.
At What Age Are Most Dogs Housebroken?
Almost everyone wants their puppy not to mess up the house. It’s a frustrating process when you think your dog should have figured it out by now. You can expect your pup to be potty trained by 6 months old, but don’t worry if they’re a little behind. The process may take up to a year. Keep in mind that smaller breeds often have smaller bladders, and therefore may need more frequent outdoor breaks than larger breeds.
Puppies can’t control their bladders for the first 12 weeks of their lives, so accidents are normal and to be expected. Don’t scold your pup at this time, since that could create a fear of going to the bathroom in front of you.
This is a good time to get them familiar with the area you want them to do their business in. This could be certain spots along a walk or an area in the backyard. If there is another older dog in the household, this can be helpful. The puppy will see the older dog going to the bathroom outside and follow their lead.
By 12 weeks old, your pup should have more control over its bladder. For each month of your pup’s age, they should be able to hold their bladder for one more hour. For example, a 2-month-old dog can hold their bladder for 2 hours, and a 3-month-old dog can hold their bladder for 3 hours.
Of course, this is a rule of thumb and may vary for your dog. Other factors such as excitement or excessive water consumption will obviously affect this timing.
Make sure to take your dog out frequently, especially after meals, first thing in the morning, before bedtime, after spending time in a crate, and after playtime. And remember to praise them when they go potty outside!
To Crate or Not to Crate?
One common method of housebreaking is crate training. This involves confining your dog to a small space such as a crate when you can’t watch them. The idea is that they won’t want to soil their sleeping area, so they will hold it until they are let out. Dogs are den animals and naturally want to keep their space clean.
Crate training can be effective, but it’s important to make sure your puppy likes its crate. This means you shouldn’t crate your puppy as a punishment or leave your pup in the crate longer than is reasonable for it to hold its bladder.
Crate training, along with frequent bathroom breaks in a familiar outdoor spot, will help your dog to become fully potty trained between 2 and 6 months old.
How Can I Prevent a Relapse?
Keeping up with your dog’s housebreaking routine is key to preventing any accidents. If you slack off on taking them out or putting them in their crate, they may start having accidents again. Here are some ways you can keep your dog on track with a new potty training routine:
Take Your Dog Out At the Same Time Each Day
If you stick to a regular schedule, your dog will learn when it’s time to go outside. The “In-and-Out-Method” is a great way to help train your dog. When you take your dog out, don’t wait endlessly for them to use the bathroom. Instead, give them two or three minutes and come back inside. Over time, this will let them know that they need to be timely in doing their business, which will help to make them more regular.
Make Sure There Are Plenty of Potty Breaks
In addition to consistency, it’s important to give your dog ample opportunities to use the bathroom. Especially if you have a puppy, it’s important not to wait many hours between bathroom breaks. You can slowly space these bathroom breaks out after your dog is 1 year old.
Limit Water Intake
Some dogs will have accidents if they drink too much water before being taken outside. Try to limit your dog’s water intake. Some good times to limit water are before bed or before it is going to be crated, so it isn’t so much of a struggle for your pup to hold its bladder.
What to Do if My Dog Relapses?
You’ve finally reached the point where your dog is housebroken and you’re no longer dealing with accidents in the house. But then one day, out of nowhere, your dog has an accident indoors. What gives?
There are a number of reasons why this may happen. Maybe there was a change in routine such as a new baby or pet in the home. Or your dog may be feeling anxious or stressed. Maybe you’ve been slack on taking them outside recently or they’re not getting enough exercise.
If your dog has an accident after being housebroken for a while, don’t get discouraged. It’s common for dogs to have occasional relapses. And here are some things you can do to prevent a relapse:
Use Positive Reinforcement
When your dog does go to the bathroom outside, make sure to praise them. This will let them know that they’re doing a good job and will encourage them to keep going potty in the right spot.
Avoid negative reinforcement, which doesn’t work as well. If you scold your dog for having an accident indoors, it may become anxious and more likely to have another accident. Instead, when you see them using the bathroom inside, interrupt their behavior by quickly taking them outside.
Adjust Your Routine
If you think your dog’s accidents are due to a change in routine, try to adjust your schedule accordingly. If they’re having accidents because they’re not getting enough exercise, try to add more walks or playtime into their day. If your dog has an accident in the morning, try to wake up an hour earlier to take your pup out.
Whenever you make a change to your dog’s routine, be sure to do it gradually so they can adjust. Sudden changes can be confusing and may lead to more accidents.
Reduce Any Stressors
If you can’t seem to pinpoint the reason for your dog’s relapse, it may be helpful to reduce any stressors in its life. This could mean taking them to fewer places, avoiding situations that make them anxious, or providing them with more calming toys or activities.
Go to the Vet
If your dog’s accidents persist for more than a week despite implementing these tips, it may be a sign that something is wrong. A trip to the vet can help to rule out any health problems that could cause your pup to have trouble holding its bladder.